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V16 2013 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 44, October 27, 2013, Article 9

READERS REMEMBER GEORGE J. FULD

Mike Marotta writes:

A few days after I received the third edition of A Guide Book of Civil War Tokens by Q. David Bowers, the passing of George Fuld was announced. Fuld’s “Reminiscence” follows the Forward by Fred Reed and leads the Introduction by QDB. George Fuld pursued much more than CWTs.

In that remembrance, Fuld mentions that his first book on Store Cards, published by Krause, ran 350 pages and was 8-1/2 x 11 inches, whereas the Quarterman reprint was 6 x 9. It was not an idle detail. Fuld wrote “Numismatic book collecting in the 50s.” for The Asylum (vol 11, no. 3 (Summer 1993, p. 3-6). In all, he has 95 index citations in the ANS Donum catalog, touring the latitudes of exonumia from Washington Peace Medals to Colgate-Palmolive Coupon Checks. The ANA library shelves two videos. The Manley Medal of Washington is a DVD recording of Dr. Fuld’s 2008 lecture at the ANA. They also hold a 1986 VHS recording of Fuld being interviewed by David Lisot.

George J. Fuld graduated from MIT with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering in 1953. In 1957, he completed a doctorate of science. While an MIT undergraduate, he chaired a committee to organize the annual Dormitory Acquaintance Dance, held October 5, 1951. They brought in and took back to their homes 300 (“selected”) girls from area colleges Wellesley, Lasell Junior College, Bradford College, Boston University, Jackson College, and Simmons College. Admission for men was $1.25. (The Tech, September 28, 1951 online at http://tech.mit.edu/V71/PDF/V71-N31.pdf.) Later that school year, at an April carnival, he bid on and won the services of a dean to be his chauffeur at the spring formal. (The Tech, April 15, 1952, online at http://tech.mit.edu/V72/PDF/V72-N17.pdf.)

The ANS provides a terse biography ( http://numismatics.org/Archives/Gjfuldbio) citing his work as a consultant and researcher in industrial chemistry. In fact, Fuld published several professional papers on fermentation processes, among them was “Continuous Hydroxylation of Progesterone by Aspergillus Ochrachaeus” which he co-authored with Richard J. Mateles. He also chaired a committee to review papers for an American Chemical Society convention in New York City in 1959: Applications of Experimental Design and Statistics . (Fermentation Subdivision). Submission was by invitation. (See http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/cen-v037n042.p084.)

Roger Siboni writes:

Such sad news. I was just looking and his Getz dollar book the other day - I guess it's his last work. So sad, what a great loss.

Saul Teichman writes:

George was a great guy. I had many discussions with him on pattern coinage with George Washington on the obverse and on 1827 half eagle pedigrees. He will be missed.

David T. Alexander writes:

The loss of George J. Fuld is a significant one for all of numismatics. The work which he and his late father Melvin did with Civil War Tokens was heroic, and opened up a long-fallow field to generations of modern collectors. Bringing out an updated version of William Spohn Baker's classic work on Washington medals and tokens was another significant effort in which he worked closely with the late Russell Rulau.

George worked with me on the award-winning 1983 San Diego ANA convention sale for Kagin's, then located in Des Moines, Iowa, and San Francisco. Later, when we were cataloging the John J. Ford Collection at the real Stack's, George and Doris were on hand, spending one epic night on the show room sofa during the great New York City blackout. No elevators, but they persevered.

Two weeks ago we lost a pillar of the Westchester County (NY) Coin Club, John P. Jensen. Like George, John did the work of many people to keep this important suburban club up and running. Both of these men will be impossible to really replace.

Dick Johnson writes:

George Fuld was a good friend, a fellow founder of the Rittenhouse Society, a knowledgeable numismatist, researcher and writer. I would like to site an example of his extensive knowledge.

The year was 1953. I was in the military stationed in Washington D.C. He lived with his parents in Baltimore, Maryland. We agreed to meet for a day to look at his token collection. I drove to Baltimore; his home was right near Pimlico race track. I didn't wear my Air Force uniform, I remember buying new civilian clothes for the occasion. I spent the day there and at the end of the day his father Melvin came home. It was the only time I met his father, who also was active in collecting and co-authored with George on their many books.

George brought out a part of his collection. One token he showed me was badly tarnished. He picked up a pencil and applied the eraser vigorously rubbing the surface of the token. It removed the tarnish and brought up the golden color of the bronze underneath. I was incensed he did this to his specimen, but didn’t say anything at the time.

Little did I know that 40 years later I learned about that soft eraser -- it is mildly abrasive. It doesn't harm the surface of a token as it doesn't harm a sheet of paper. We had hired an Australian diesinker at Medallic Art Company, he taught me about Cratex. He used a tool made of Cratex often used in die engraving. Cratex is the same material as the eraser part of a wooden pencil.

I remembered George Fuld using it on his token. Cratex did the job. George undoubtedly learned this trick-of-the-trade from an old-time numismatist. It was part of his extensive knowledge of numismatics.

LEARN THE TERM: CRATEX

Other than a vise (irreverently called a engraver’s ball), numerous engravers, burins and chisels, a Cratex stick is a die engraver’s most useful tool. It is used for smoothing and polishing the steel face of a die. It is made of rubberized composition embedded with abrasives.

Cratex comes in five forms: pointed, cone shaped, and wheels, all mounted on spindles for use with a hand-held Dramel. It also comes in blocks, and sticks. A pointed Cratex could add dimples as polka dots in a garment. A wheel can cut a fine line in a steel die from its abrasives.

It comes in four degrees of coarse abrasive, each with a different color. Fine is reddish brown (like a pencil eraser), extra fine is gray green, medium is dark brown, coarse is green. A block or round stick of Cratex is a tool always on a diesinker's workbench.

If you learn this new term, it is in memory of George Fuld, who exposed me to the use of Cratex 60 years ago this year. George had knowledge of it that early.

Be sure to look for an article on George Fuld in this week's Coin World; the electronic version comes out tomorrow. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: GEORGE J. FULD 1932 - 2013 (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v16n43a03.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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